Elyssa Parnell Staff Writer
September 30, 2013
PROSPERITY — Silently wearing red in support of her husband deployed overseas, second grade teacher Anna Farmer was recently surprised by Prosperity-Rikard Elementary faculty and students as they came together to support her and her family.
Farmer’s husband, Rusty, left March 3 for Texas, leaving once again at the beginning of April for his destination in Afghanistan. A member of the Army’s Edgefield Unit in the 122nd engineer battalion, Farmer has been in the service for 23 years, making this his second big deployment.
Farmer’s mission in Afghanistan as a warrant officer is training Afghan soldiers in hopes to pull out American soldiers from the war, making Afghan soldiers capable of taking care of their own military work. Farmer also is responsible for maintenance work while deployed.
While deployed, Anna Farmer says what her husband has missed most, is simply watching his sons grow up. Together, the couple has two sons, Preston, 14, and Al, 10.
Farmer’s deployment is up at the end of January 2014, but his youngest son Al has hopes that he’ll be home earlier in order to make his class field trip to see the manatees.
“While he’s been gone, he’s had to miss Al’s all-star baseball team, Preston playing high school baseball, and both of their birthdays,” Farmer said. “It’s just hard on them.”
With her husband being eight and one half hours ahead of the time zone here, Farmer says in order for their family to communicate together, they use Facetime and iMessage, as well as Facebook messaging.
“I’ve really missed him,” Al said as he talks about wanting to hunt with his father during deer season.
At the beginning of her husband’s deployment, Farmer said she began to wear red every Friday, an idea that came from a website in support of troops overseas.
“Wear red Friday’s stands for Remember Everyone Deployed,” Farmer said. “It was something that was new to me, and I didn’t know much about it until Rusty was deployed.”
Aside from a co-worker, Farmer hadn’t mentioned wearing red in support of her husband, but Principal Tim Lyden was made aware of the concept and decided the school should support Farmer and her family.
Lyden sent an email to the school employees, asking them to secretively share the word to wear red on Sept. 13, surprising Farmer.
“Our school is a family. When we heard about the red shirt Friday initiative, it was extremely important to us to extend our love and support to the Farmer family, during the time of Chief Rusty Farmer’s deployment,” Lyden said. “During a deployment, it is not only important to keep that soldier in our thoughts and prayers, but to remember that the family that stays behind needs a lot of support as well.”
Lyden says Prosperity Rikard has a wall of heroes displayed at the school, and that Chief Farmer’s picture is there with the names of other Soldiers recognized for previous or present service.
The family plans to take a vacation, possibly to Disney World following the return of Rusty. Both sons can agree that when their father returns back home, they cant wait to get into a batting cage and play some baseball.
“Although my sons have good friends, nobody can take the place of their father,” Farmer said.
Farmer says she and her family greatly appreciate the thoughts and support that comes from their school, church, and friends.
Elyssa Parnell can be reached at 803-276-0625, ext. 108 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.